Sadly, this is my final week in the Republic of Georgia. Today is my last day at the Ministry of Environment where I have spent the past three and a half months as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer working with great people on interesting PR projects. My Peace Corps reports are finished and waiting to be signed, and hundreds of my photos are sitting in my files waiting to be shared with you! Since I only have a little time left here, I’m letting myself get further and further behind in posting my memories so I can spend time with my Georgian host family, who are absolutely wonderful and so much fun!
I promise to catch-up soon on my photos. I’m sure it will take me a few weeks to sort through all the photos I’ve already taken and the hundreds more I plan to take in my remaining three days. Until I get my photographic act together, I thought I would share a brief glimpse of one of my favorite holiday traditions here.
These sweet little trees were for sale in markets and along streets before the holidays. I’d never seen anything like them and quickly fell under their ancient holiday spell.
Chichilaki are made from young walnut or hazelnut tree branches that are shaved, and curl naturally during the process. (I have been told that only hazelnut trees are used and just as adamantly told that only walnut trees are used. As yet I have no final verification if one or the other or both are acceptable!) I can confirm that they range in size from 10 inches to four feet!
Once bought, these blonde beauties are given an important place on the table during New Year’s celebrations. They are decorated with candies and are said to absorb all the bad memories accumulated in the home during the year. On the eve of Epiphany, they are burnt as a way of symbolically reducing bad memories to ashes. I like that.
To read and see more about how Chichilaki are made, click here. To see more photos of my wonderful days in Georgia return often to Wishful Thinking Works.